Last Updated on May 5, 2022 by Ellen Christian
Have you been wondering about growing morel mushrooms? You can start with morel mushroom spores or a kit. Keep reading to learn how.
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While I can’t get out into the garden yet this year, I’ve been doing a bit of preparation and research. I love growing things. And, now is definitely the time to start planning your garden.
Growing Morel Mushrooms
Morel mushrooms are a popular delicacy often searched for by foragers. Not everyone can forage for these mushrooms but anyone can grow them to enjoy.
These mushrooms are the perfect option for the home gardener looking to add a spark of flavor to their cooking without paying specialty prices for them.
Morel mushrooms are packed with antioxidants and are one of the most flavorful mushrooms. In the spring these can be found at specialty grocery stores and farmers’ markets.
Some areas are lucky enough to find these naturally occurring but the best way to enjoy morel mushrooms on a budget is to grow them yourself.
What is the easiest way to grow morel mushrooms?
Are you wondering how to grow your own morel mushrooms? The easiest way to grow morel mushrooms is to start with a growing kit.
A morel spore kit can be found at local nurseries or online and allow you to get started with all of the prep work done.
To use fresh morels for growing you will need to prepare them for rooting which for less experienced gardeners is not worth the time and effort. Follow the directions on the kit if you go this route.
How do you grow morels without a kit?
More experienced gardeners can dive right in with growing morel mushrooms this way while newer gardeners can benefit from becoming familiar with their garden before diving into morels that can take a few years to sprout and leave a new gardener confused and stressed thinking they did something wrong when in truth everything is going perfectly under the ground.
Kits have a higher rate of success making them the optimal option.
How to collect mushroom spores
The first thing you need to do is get ahold of fresh morels for morel mushroom spores. These are available in the spring and it’s simply a matter of hunting for them in the woods.
You will need to remove the stem and carefully scrape off the spores onto a piece of paper. Then, use these instead of the ones provided in a kit.
You can go hunting for them or opt to purchase some. A growing kit is a lot easier. For this, you will want to let them get a bit old.
Buying the older stock from your local farmers’ market is a great way to get a discount on them if you can find a vendor with an overstock.
Morel mushroom slurry
- Bring one gallon of filtered or bottled water. You want to ensure there is no chlorine in the water to avoid killing off the mushrooms.
- Add one tablespoon molasses to the water to provide sugar to feed your morel mushrooms. This will give them a head start as morel mushrooms are a fungus.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the water to help keep your morel mushrooms healthy while they start the growing process.
- Add in the caps of your morels broken apart. You will not need many for this.
- Stir well with a long wooden spoon.
- Place a lid over the pot and allow it to sit for 36-to 44 hours. You do not want to go over 44 hours to avoid encouraging your mixture to grow bacteria.
Where do morel mushrooms grow best?
Morel mushrooms are a great option for the gardener with a shady yard. Morels need to be grown in the shade for them to thrive making them the perfect way to use up space under large trees or in between two houses.
In your shady spot till a 4 x 4-foot area. This is the perfect time to add in amendments like fresh compost to your soil.
You will have a better success rate if you provide your mushrooms with alkaline soil. Along with fresh compost add a pound of lime to raise your chances of success with your morel mushroom garden.
Till in peat moss to help bulk up thick soil making is a better growing environment.
How to plant morel mushrooms
Once you have your spores or mixture ready and your plot is prepared you can move on to planting. This is best done in the summer or fall allowing for growth to begin before winter.
Place your spores into the soil or pour your mixture over your garden plot.
Top of with 4 inches of hardwood mulch to provide your mushrooms with growing medium and to help protect them from pests and the winter cold.
How to plant morel mushrooms in sawdust
To grow morel mushrooms at home, you will need:
- A container with drainage holes (a plastic storage bin, for example)
- Sawdust or wood chips
- Spawn (nutrients that the mushrooms will feed on)
First, you should prepare your container. This can be done by drilling several holes in the bottom of the container to allow water to drain out. You can line the bottom of the bin with plastic sheeting to help keep the sawdust in place.
Next, you will need to add the sawdust or wood chips to the container. The depth of the substrate should be around 4-6 inches. Once the substrate is in place, you can add the spawn. The spawn can be purchased from a gardening store or online.
To grow your morel mushrooms, place the container in a warm and dark place. Be sure to keep the substrate moist by misting it with water from time to time. You will begin t-o see the mushrooms appear after around 3 weeks.
If you want to continue growing morel mushrooms, simply add another layer of substrate and spawn when the existing crop has been harvested. With a little care and patience, you can enjoy fresh morel mushrooms for many years to come!
How long does it take to grow morel mushrooms?
Morel mushrooms can take a few years before mushrooms are produced. This growth happens underground and can leave you wondering if everything went well until one spring morning after a good rain you find your mushrooms have sprouted.
Once your mushrooms are growing well the base of the plant will continue to produce over a course of several years.
Each year add fresh compost and hardwood wood chips over your morel mushroom bed to help keep the soil-filled with nutrition for your mushrooms.
I suggest marking off this garden bed so it doesn’t begin to blend in with the rest of the area under your tree making it hard to remember where to add compost as the years go by.
How to harvest morel mushrooms
You can simply snap them at ground level to pull them up. The base plant underground will continue to thrive with no damage and continue to grow more morel mushrooms.
This makes for a sustainable harvesting plant even in the wild.
If you’re new to harvesting mushrooms, check out this mushroom identification list.
Finally, if you want a morel mushroom growing video, check out the one above that I found very helpful.
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Ellen is a busy mom of a 24-year-old son and 29-year-old daughter. She owns six blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn’t have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you’d like to work together, email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat.